Bacuna keeps Groningen in touch

Bacuna grabbed a potentially crucial second-half strike in a 3-2

defeat at Heracles. Pieter Huistra’s side blew their chance to

claim fourth place and automatic qualification on the final day of

the regular Eredivisie season when they failed to beat PSV

Eindhoven. But Bacuna’s 56th-minute effort will give Groningen hope

of overturning the first-leg deficit in the return fixture on

Sunday and progressing into the final where a qualifying place will

be at stake. Heracles finished three places and eight places behind

Groningen in the table but they stormed into a 2-0 lead inside the

first quarter-hour with goals from Samuel Armenteros and Darl

Douglas. Jonas Ivens reduced the deficit on 17 minutes for the

visitors, but a second from Armenteros on 56 minutes restored

Heracles’ two-goal lead. Bacuna hit back almost immediately for

Groningen, who had Maikel Kieftenbeld sent off late on. In the

second semi-final, ADO Den Haag claimed a 4-2 first leg win over

Roda JC after a lightning start which saw Lex Immers, Frantisek

Kubik and Dmitri Bulykin all score for the home side inside the

first 23 minutes. Morten Skuobo’s opener for Roda on 27 minutes was

cancelled out by Charlton Vicento’s fourth for ADO four minutes

before the break. But Bulykin’s red card on the stroke of half-time

hampered the home side and Rihairo Meulens made it 4-2 after 78

minutes. In the promotion and relegation play-offs, former

Leicester and Hearts striker Mark de Vries scored twice as Cambuur

pulled off a 2-1 home win over Zwolle, who had finished the regular

Eerste Divisie season 18 points better off. VVV-Venlo, battling to

avoid relegation after finishing second bottom of the Eredivisie

table, won 2-1 in their first leg at Volendam. Ahmed Musa got the

winner for VVV two minutes from time. Two goals in the last seven

minutes from substitute Tim Vincken also gave Excelsior hope of

avoiding relegation to the Eerste Divisie as his side clawed out a

3-3 first leg draw at Den Bosch. Veendam and Helmond Sport also

shared six goals with Helmond fighting back from 3-0 half-time

deficit after Veendam had Michael de Leeuw sent off on 48 minutes.

Helmond substitute Etienne Esajas was also dismissed. The winners

of the two-legged ties between Excelsior and Den Bosch, and Helmond

Sport and Veendam, will play off for a place in next season’s

Eredivisie, as will the winners of VVV-Volendam and Zwolle-Cambuur.